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For journalists behind bars, the coronavirus pandemic has now become a matter of life and death. Imprisoned journalists have no control over their surroundings, cannot choose to isolate, and are often denied necessary medical care.
Recognizing the urgency of this situation, more than 175 partner organizations have joined CPJ’s #FreeThePress campaign calling for the immediate release of all jailed journalists. Thousands of concerned citizens have signed a petition to world leaders. Add your name now and help get more signatures by sharing on social media with the hashtag #FreeThePress.
Few people understand the dire situation these journalists face better than CPJ Advocacy Associate Yeganeh Rezaian, who was jailed while working as a journalist in Iran, and recounted her experience in an op-ed.
She emphasized how, at a time when journalists could be reporting and helping stop the spread of COVID-19, many now languish in prison. There were at least 250 imprisoned journalists globally at the time of CPJ’s 2019 census.
Journalism in the time of coronavirus
- CPJ Deputy Executive Director Robert Mahoney called for tech companies to do more to curb misinformation, pointing out that their response to COVID-19 shows that they are able to do so
- CPJ spoke with photojournalists in the U.S. and journalists in Nicaragua and Serbia about the challenges they face covering the pandemic
- Journalists were detained and assaulted in India during the COVID-19 lockdown. Separately in the country, police in Tamil Nadu state arrested a journalist over his pandemic coverage
- Iran arrested two journalists for allegedly sharing a cartoon mocking the government’s coronavirus response
- Beijing police arrested two volunteers who contribute to a website sharing news reports and social media posts censored by the government, and a third volunteer has gone missing
- Sierra Leone security forces attacked and charged a journalist covering the virus
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